The future will someday be the "now" we once guessed at, just as, twenty years ago, we'd not have known that there would be no world government, what our cars would look like, or that we'd still hear rock-and-roll on the radio.
"Blade Runner" imagines Los Angeles in 2020 as a sensational, futuristic quasi-Tokyo, with gigantic billboards of smiling Japanese young women drinking Coca-Cola, and a skyline dominated by larger-than-life high-rises. People commute in compact vehicles that fly, hover, climb, and swoop. (Imagine having three-dimensional traffic problems!) At ground level, the future L.A. is an even wilder urban jungle.
Ford is a competent but laconic, cynical cop, with a difficult assignment: to find, halt, and eliminate a group of "replicants" -- escaped, convincingly-human androids trying to situate themselves on Earth. Then the unthinkable happens: he falls in love with one. Ford is tough and low-key in the central role. The love affair is pro forma, but the climax is a literal cliffhanger, with Ford dangling over an abyss by his fingertips.
Director Scott's challenge was to create a future world. A master of production design, he's imagined other future worlds ("Alien") and the past ("The Duellists"). "Blade Runner" is visually interesting; its special effects were supervised by Douglas Trumbull, who worked on "2001: A Space Odyssey," and "Silent Running," and is great at miniatures, animation, drawings, optical effects, and other ways to trick the eye. His visuals for this film are wonderful and detailed. "Blade Runner" is worth attending just to witness his artistry.
The story, based on a Philip K. Dick novel, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" examines differences between human beings and thinking machines, and our understanding of memory. Is an android's personal memory valid if inspired by someone else's experience (and if the android doesn't know that)?
Phillip K. Dick
Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Darrell Hannah
2020, Los Angeles in 2020, Harrison Ford
war and peace
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